Monday, May 12, 2008

Gang Leader for a Day

This is the best book I have read in a looooooooooooong time. Best book since Freakanomics, which shouldn't be surprising since the author, Sudhir Venkatesh and the authors of Freakanomics are friends.
If you ever have any interest in Sociology whatsoever, this is one of the best studies ever done and the day by day account of it is mind boggling. It's amazing that Sudhir is still alive. I absolutely loved this book and it has changed my world view forever. That's the mark of a good Sociology book, right.
Mr. Venkatesh had the sack to walk into gang life at the Robert Taylor projects in urban Chicago and start asking questions. He became friends with one of the gang leaders and not only was spared his life, but gained friendship and inside knowlege of the inner workings of ganglife that he shouldn't have been allowed to see.
I don't want to spoil any of the jaw dropping stories from his years of hanging with the Black Kings. Let me just say this. This book makes you want to not only start reading more about poverty in America, it also motivates you to want to do something about it. It helps you better understand the problem and changes your whole perspective on social programs. This book really could change America. This should be a "must read" in high school curriculum.
I can't wait to see what Mr. Venkatesh writes about next. I loved this story and miss the gang... you have to read this to understand what I'm talking about.

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